‘I know in my heart and soul the abortion referendum is going to get so nasty’

Sound Off: Mary Coughlan, singer

Mary Coughlan:  “It’s the same bunch of people who come out and make it divisive. That’s what saddens me.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Mary Coughlan: “It’s the same bunch of people who come out and make it divisive. That’s what saddens me.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

The thing that’s really annoying me at the moment are the issues around the upcoming referendum on abortion. I’ve been campaigning since the very beginning for a woman’s right to choose, from when I was living in Galway. We’ve been working towards this for so many years. The committee did great work and the findings were presented to the Oireachtas, although the Three Wise Men decided to go against it: McGrath, Mullen and Fitzpatrick.

I know in my heart and soul it’s going to get so nasty. I’ve been there on the doors in Galway and outside the Dáil with people waving crucifixes and terrible pictures. It drives me crazy on so many levels. We have people in this country no one gives a s*** about; children in direct provision and children being abused. We don’t care for lives in Ireland when they’re here. Yet there is a segment of the population who want to interfere with a woman’s right to choose.

I have five children, grandchildren, and I’ve had an abortion. I’ve been vocal since the ’80s. It’s the same bunch of people who come out and make it divisive. That’s what saddens me. You have a bunch of people who are vociferous around this issue, yet there are all these children who are homeless, and you don’t see them out campaigning for that. It’s the hypocrisy of people in Ireland. You never see them campaigning for children’s rights.

I know that the Catholic Church doesn’t have as tight a grip on our ovaries as they used to. Getting this over the line means so much to people of my age. We’ve been watching this for 35 years or so. It’s nobody’s business but that between a woman and her doctor.

Do you have something you’d like to Sound Off about? Email 300 words to magazine@irishtimes.com with Sound Off in the subject line

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